Together, Boston area nonprofits are helping to ensure that all children get the support they need to build a brighter future. #kidsfirst
For more information, please visit www.weputkidsfirst.org.
For more information, please visit www.weputkidsfirst.org.
Since Shiela Y. Moore has taken over as CEO of Hildebrand, she’s worked diligently to improve our infrastructure. Hildebrand has grown exponentially under her leadership, from a 40 person team to 70 employees, 99 units of shelter to 126 units, and increased the permanent housing capacity to 11 units. Last year, Shiela, the Board of Directors, and Senior Management shifted Hildebrand’s focus and went through a rebranding process to ensure the organization has a more accurate and adequate representation. Along with rebranding, the Board of Directors (BOD) and Senior Management (SM) collaborated to refine the organization’s vision, mission, and values.
Hildebrand partners with families experiencing homeless¬ness. We endeavor to break the cycle of homelessness by providing shelter, permanent housing, training and work readiness programs, and life skill development. We restore hope and build brighter futures.
Every family has a home.
In February, the entire staff participated in a meeting facilitated by consultant Roosevelt Smith, in which we broke out into seven groups and developed 3-5 values each that followed the phrase “Hildebrand is at its best when.” In addition, we had fun with roleplay and a little friendly competition between the small teams, and discussed how the new vision and mission statements will impact organization goals, culture, roles and our approach to working with families. The goal of the meeting was to then review the values each group developed and discover the degree to which they aligned with those as drafted by the BOD and SM. Unfortunately, we ran out of time, so Shiela created a committee of volunteers, headed by me (Ashley Ganem), to complete this task.
Twelve (12) staff members from various departments and two clients volunteered to sit on this Values Committee (VC) to complete the great work we began in February. Over a three month period, the committee reviewed the values each breakout group developed to analyze which ones matched up with the Board and Senior Management pre-established values and discover any outliers.
While the BOD and SM created a great foundation, after carefully reviewing the values from the All Staff Meeting, the VC found some improvements could be made. Kate Healey, the Residential Manager of Morse House (at the time), wanted to incorporate the Family-Centered Approach throughout the values. She suggested that if we truly believe everyone is an empowered stakeholder then we should remove the “us” (staff) and “them” (clients) dynamic present within the pre-established values. Thus, the VC made it a point to use more inclusive language. “We wanted to be clear that our family-centered approach encompassed the working relationship between staff and clients, as well as between coworkers. For a family structure to work functionally, members must trust one another to fulfill their responsibilities, respect the work, and appreciate the effort” said values committee member and case manager, Brooke Murphy.
Hildebrand’s culture is one in which staff, clients, collaborators, and supporters embrace its mission and vision. Together, we hold a set of values that enable the empowerment of its stakeholders and ensure the success of the organization. We value:
When the VC reviewed the pre-established values, it became clear that having a Shared Mission & Vision was an organizational goal, one we can achieve through our values. Thus, Shared Mission & Vision became an introduction to our goals, which, in turn, moved Organizational Sustainability to the forefront. We then made sure that Family Centered Approach, Appreciation & Respect, and Positive, Professional Team Environment included both staff and clients. It was important to use this inclusive language because the majority of our staff (more than 60%) work within a living space.
Communication was the first addition to the values, which came about as a result of two things. First, during the breakout groups from the February All Staff Meeting, one group, team name “Dream Makers” lead by Kelly Duda, Director of Programs, wrote, “Hildebrand is at its best when communication happens.” As the sole communications staff member, I was obviously drawn to this observation. However, it was when I met with Tara*, one of the clients on the VC, who echoed that statement. She suggested that having open lines of communication with both staff and other families was essential to a family’s success within the congregate living programs.
The families living in shelter are human and oftentimes things occur that are beyond their control. By keeping staff informed whether they got out of work late and missed or a child is sick in the hospital and they need to stay there overnight, they won’t receive a house violation. Tara works as a nurse and often leaves the house before 6:00 AM, if she needs help with her children, she can ask one of the other mothers. The same applies to our staff. If someone knows that a client is going to be late or going through a difficult time, informing their relief or the residential manager ensures consistency.
The VC was most passionate about our final addition, Advocacy. First and foremost, advocacy is something we already do; adding it to the organizational values brings to it light and structure. As an organization, clients advocate for themselves within state agencies, and with their case managers and the Assistant Directors of Programs. In June, Homes for Families held an advocacy workshop wherein MassVote held voter registration. Morse House also held voter registration. Advocacy doesn’t end with clients. Staff advocate for clients with landlords, other Hildebrand staff, housing authorities, educational institutions, medical professionals, childcare, and more. Staff also advocate for better benefits through annual reviews, supervision, and department meetings.
The VC brought together a passionate group of people dedicated to the great work we do at Hildebrand. Out of this passion came the creation of an employee engagement committee, HAC (Hildebrand Ambassador Committee). HAC is an interdepartmental committee whose purpose is to uphold the organizational values through employee engagement. The committee has been opened up to those beyond the VC who’re just as passionate.
Special thanks to Values Committee members Doris Beechman, Raychelle Burwell, Tunji Clary, Ashley Ganem, Kate Healey, Marc Jean-Jacques, Linda Jeong, Deborah Lovell, Lyndsey McMahan, Brooke Murphy, Meaghan O’Donnell, Mike Short, and our two clients.
*Name changed for confidentiality
We envision a community in which every family has a home.
I am honored to be leading an organization that provides such essential services to families experiencing homelessness. This is my first annual report so this message encompasses my reflection on the past three years. I joined Hildebrand in 2013, and we have been solely focused on transitions, planning, program expansion, and infrastructure building – all in the midst of what was termed a crisis in homelessness.
In 2013, Massachusetts experienced an 8 percent increase in the number of families in shelter as many factors converged to throw a record number of families into homelessness, including Boston’s high cost of living, and lack of affordable housing. I am proud of how Hildebrand rallied to respond to the increasing need for emergency shelter, and we expanded from 99 to 126 units, as over 4,000 homeless families were taken into emergency shelters across the state.
Over the past three years, we never took our eyes off the vision that every family has a home, and we re-examined our unique role in that process. To that end, we clarified the mission, and committed to a strategic direction of expanding intervention and prevention programs. The result of this work was the addition of three units of permanent housing last year, and continued efforts to grow the portfolio beyond its current eleven units. The organization made significant investments in the infrastructure as the number of staff increased from 30 to 60 employees, primarily due to the expansion of congregate living programs because families have far better outcomes with that model. Hildebrand’s congregate living programs now support 53 families who receive 24/7 on-site case management. Another 73 families reside in scattered site locations throughout the Metro Boston region. We also created a special fund (HAND Up) to eliminate one of the most significant barriers to securing permanent housing—payment of initial rents, security deposits, utility arrearage, etc. This effort helped yield placement for 73 families in 2015.
Lastly, we redesigned the website and heightened our social media presence to more effectively connect with those who support of our work. You may have noticed the new logo as well. The arrow in the “H” symbolizes continued upward movement toward ending family homelessness. Someday our vision of a community in which every family has a home will be realized, but in the meantime, it reflects the interventions (e.g. shelter) we provide until that day comes.
Check out our 2015 Annual Report to see more of the important work we do at Hildebrand.
We’re excited to host The Parenting Journey workshop series, which helps parents to become more confident by building on their strengths, resulting in a more nurturing family relationship. Many parents are often best served by first stepping back and reflecting on their own childhood experiences, before they begin to develop concrete goals for improving their relationship with their own children. Facilitated by our own case managers, Marisol and Meaghan, this 12-week workshop series focuses on promoting attitudes that enhance good parenting behaviors as well as providing the tools for parents to effectively model these behaviors at home. Marisol and Meaghan are in a unique position because they participated in a 5-day experience of The Parenting Journey training.
During the first three days of the facilitator training, Marisol, Meaghan, and the other participants went through the actual experience of being in a Parenting Journey group. Meaghan recalls, “During the group, I was able to really take a look at my childhood and relate it to my relationships with others. The Parenting Journey is a challenging experience where you develop bonds with others also participating in this group.” Marisol reiterates Meaghan’s sentiment, stating, “The parenting journey was the most excellent training I have ever attended. It made me realize how I was parented and now how I parent my own child and have relationships with others.”
Meaghan notes that the Parenting Journey is different from most parenting groups because it does teach a “right” or “wrong” way to parent, rather it provides a deeper understanding of oneself, finding ways to do “self-care” in order to become a more effective parent. According to the Parenting Journey website, “The program model focuses on adult development and the emotional understanding of what it means to be a parent thus filling a void created by traditional parenting classes that often focus solely on child development and disciplinary techniques.”
This program’s mission aligns with our own approach to case management; three terms frequently heard around either the office or congregates are “unconditional positive regard,” “trauma informed care,” and “strengths-based communication.” In essence, the ability to offer respect, acknowledgement, dignity, and warmth to a person no matter what emotions or behaviors he/she offers in return, which involves a feeling of acceptance for a person’s negative, fearful, painful, defensive and abnormal feelings as much as it does a person’s positive, mature and socially normal feelings. As the service provider, we deeply value the humanity of our client, which is not merely the head of household, but each member of the family. The Parenting Journey series will not only serve those attending the program and their families but will ripple into other areas of their lives.
The first Parenting Journey series is being held at Devon House, one of our congregate living programs in Dorchester, beginning on Thursday, April 7th at 5:00 PM. When asked what they hope to bring to the parents who attend, Marisol says, “to show the parents that they are not alone when it comes to parenting or being parented – [it’s a] great way to show clients that you do not need to have children to understand this training.” Meaghan echoes, “helping [the families] realize that they are not alone in this journey as a parent. I also hope to help them realize their self-worth.”
The workshop will be held at Devon House from 5:00 to 7:00 PM on Thursdays, April 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th, May 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th, and June 2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd. Dinner and child care will be provided each week. *Workshop is limited to Devon families.
Please join us in welcoming our new Assistant Director of Programs, Family Advocacy & Support Team, Joy Gallon! Prior to joining us at Hildebrand, Joy worked at The Edinburg Center in Lexington, MA for over a decade. While there, she worked in various capacities, but most recently she was the Director of Community Intervention Services, responsible for overseeing short-term programs providing services to people with serious mental illnesses. “The programs that I was responsible for included a short-term respite and outreach program that provided intensive mental health services to a small number of clients (up to 5 on-site clients and up to 11 outreach clients) in our service area (18 towns and cities). We met with and provided services to these clients a minimum of twice per week and up to twice per day,” she says of her time there.
In addition, she also supervised jail diversion programs in Arlington and Waltham, which provided supervision to clinicians based at the police departments in each town, and did weekly ride-alongs with the Senior Affairs Officer in Waltham. “The clinicians would assess people in the community with an officer when someone in those communities came to the attention of police due to a mental health or substance abuse concern,” Joy writes. They would then assess the person determining whether or not services needed to be provided or whether he or she needed to go to the hospital. She continues, “I also provided hoarding assessments and services to people in Waltham brought to my attention by the police or fire departments.”
When asked what experience she hopes to bring from The Edinburg Center, Joy responds, “I hope to bring a knowledge of how to provide excellent outreach services to the people we serve in the scattered sites, and […] bring my experience serving persons with mental health concerns to the team, in order to better serve our clients who are impacted by trauma, mental illness, and substance abuse concerns.” Additionally, her two main goals are to reduce the time our clients spend in shelter and move them more quickly into permanent, sustainable housing as well as bring more workshops & trainings to our clients “in order to help equip them with the tools they need to reduce the barriers to sustainable housing.”
Prior to working in social services, Joy worked in Human Resources. She was the Director of Human Resources at a small mental health provider. While there she was drawn to work with the clients that the organization provided with services. After she left that position, she began working at The Edinburg Center and went to back to school to earn a degree in Social Work; “I love working with people, and really enjoy helping to creatively resolve the complex and challenging situations that people encounter.”
Joy received her MSW from Boston University, Masters of Communications from Emerson College, and her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
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